About the Nexus Institute


Purdue University and the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín (UNSA) in Arequipa, Peru, have partnered to create a bold new cooperative technical alliance program with the launch of its initial flagship research, capacity and capability building initiative: the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Water, Energy, and the Environment (Nexus Institute).  The vision for the Nexus Institute is a vibrant research, education, and innovation ecosystem where transformative solutions to the grand challenges faced by Arequipa, Peru, and Latin America are explored. In its initial stage, the partnership will focus on co-development of targeted technical and research infrastructure to support a network of interrelated, interdisciplinary research projects.  The projects will address a variety of challenges in the areas of food security and safety, water and air quality, energy efficiency, soil health and productivity, social conflict identification and resolution models, and wholistic watershed management.  Ultimately, the UNSA-Purdue technical alliance will include an integrated research and commercialization program modeled on Purdue’s Discovery Park.


One of the key goals of Dr. Rohel Sanchez, Rector of UNSA, and Dr. Horacio Barreda, the Vice-Rector for Research at UNSA, was to transform UNSA by elevating its technical and human capacity and capability and build the strategic, long-term collaborations needed to address key environmental, agroeconomic, and social challenges that will support development of adaptive, profitable, and sustainable food-energy-water systems in the Arequipa region of Peru, Peru as a whole, and throughout Latin America. To accomplish this, they were exploring a variety of mechanisms with many emanant universities from around the world.

The connections between UNSA and Purdue University were established through the work of the Core Foundation, an Indiana-based not-for-profit, whose mission is to facilitate transformative solutions to grand challenges faced by Peru and Latin America.  Core foundation President, Ricardo Torreblanca Zavalga and Vice President Paola Fisher-Torreblanca work to bring opportunities for Peruvian people to create a prosperous and healthy existence and close the social gap by aligning the talents and efforts of their partners in the United States and Peru to connect and create new markets and elevate the capacity and capability of Peruvian universities and citizenry.

Beginning in Early 2017, a series of high-level meetings led by Tomas Diaz de la Rubia, Chief Scientist and Executive Director of the Discovery Park and UNSA Rector Rohel Sanchez, established the basis for the collaboration and the mechanisms for bi-lateral engagement among faculty to discuss needs and capabilities.   The first Purdue delegation to Arequipa, included representatives from across Purdue including Discovery Park, International Programs in Agriculture, Global Engineering Program, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships, Sponsored Programs, and the Foundry.  By November of that same year the Nexus Institute programs had been developed and by March of 2018 the official launching of the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Water, Energy, and the Environment was signed.  The current program of research projects, technical workshops, visiting scholars programs, and joint laboratories engages nearly 100 UNSA and Purdue faculty and staff, 23 postdoctoral researchers, and a growing number of UNSA graduate and Undergraduate students.

The Purdue Nexus team is led by Timothy Filley, professor in the Departments of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary sciences, and Agronomy and Director of Discovery Park’s Center for the Environment (C4E).  He serves as Co-Director of the Nexus Institute’s scientific programs and partnerships together with the leader of the UNSA team, Henry Gustavo Cornejo Polanco, professor and Dean of the School of Process Engineering at UNSA. C4E will be the administrative and collaborative link to UNSA.


Tim Filley

Timothy Filley
Professor, Purdue University
Nexus Institute Director
Director, C4E
Phone: +1 765 49-46581

Gustavo Polanco

Henry Gustavo Polanco Cornejo
Dean, School of Process Engineering, UNSA
Nexus Institute Co-Director

Purdue University